Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rocket pilots

Before we move on to the launch and flight photos of the Adventure Team Near Space Vehicle (NSV-1), let's get a closer look at the pilots.

As I said in my previous post, I gave the hazardous assignment of test pilot, not to a Joe, but to a Lanard Star Corps figure. "Captain Lanard" was actually an experienced astronaut by the time he climbed into the cockpit of the NSV. He'd already taken several high-altitude flights on my "D-Ranger," a modified (stretched with a payload bay, pointed nose-cone, and 24mm engine mount) Estes Ranger.

The rockets in the background, for those who are curious, are an Estes Super-Vega, an Estes D-Region Tomahawk (modified from a single 24mm motor mount, to 3 18mm motors), and an Estes S.W.A.T. As you can see, I have a strong preference for "futuristic" models.

This photo was taken at the launch site outside Sheridan, Oregon just after one of the flights. Captain Lanard can be seen climbing from the payload section of the D-Ranger, giving his "all okay" wave.

After these flights, I felt that Captain Lanard deserved to become an honorary member of the Adventure team, and I made him a small version of this AT astronaut patch. It is inspired by the vintage astronaut patch, and incorporates the astronaut flight wings. The symbol was printed on paper, carefully cut out, and affixed to the figure with a drop of super-glue.

But despite Captain Lanard's excellent service, I really wanted to fly with a "real" Joe, and my chance came with the release of the Comic 3-figure pack that included an astronaut (Flash), as well as Short Fuze and Rock N Roll. I initially planned to fly Flash stock, but he seemed a little plain and boring to me, so I had to modify him.

Since he was supposed to be an Adventure Team Astronaut, I figured a beard would be appropriate, and since Rock N Roll had a beard, out came the screwdriver for a quick head-transplant. The Rock N Roll hair is a little long, even for the AT, but I think he looks pretty good. I also used a Sharpie pen to darken in the "padding" around his helmet opening, and added an AT symbol to his chest. The result is my 3 3/4 AT Air-Adventurer Astronaut.

Finally, we see the hand-off as test pilot makes the official delivery and hand-off of the NSV-1 for regular Adventure Team operations. Who says Adventure Team and 3 3/4" Joes don't mix?

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